You'll love it if:
- You’re a fan of the One Piece series
- You love a classic JRPG but want something new
- Looking for a well-polished and colorful game
Not for you if:
- You prefer modern RPGs over the classic turn-based
- May find repetitive fights tedious
Rightfully neglecting the sub-series One Piece: Pirate Warriors, One Piece: World Seeker offered the last chance for the fanbase of Luffy and co. However, it featured a shoddy open-world game with mediocre gameplay and graphics, making fans distrustful of future endeavors. After 4 years though, One Piece Odyssey finally makes its PS5 debut, and it’s spectacular, with a new style and developer behind it.
One Piece Odyssey is a game for fans and non-fans alike, offering a player-friendly experience with room for all levels of familiarity with the Straw Hat crew. It is a successful turn-based JRPG with a well-written, new story by Eiichiro Oda, featuring unique characters. Despite some drawbacks like excessive padding and repetition, it stands as the most ambitious and best adaptation in the series.
One Piece Odyssey lets you play as all Straw Hats (except Jinbe unfortunately) and use their skills in a turned-based combat system. It has a strong opening, with a captivating narrative and a new island fitting into the One Piece world. The story and gameplay are both engaging and strategic, better than the simple combat of One Piece: World Seeker. The main plot takes place on the mysterious island of Waford, where the Straw Hat crew’s relationships and personalities are quickly established before revisiting familiar arcs.
The Ultimate Treasure Hunt
If you’re not acquainted with the One Piece narrative, let me introduce you. In the world of One Piece, the story follows the journey of pirate Monkey D. Luffy as he searches the Grand Line for the legendary treasure “One Piece”. Finding this treasure will grant the title of “King of the Pirates”, a title previously only held by Gol D. Roger. Taking that out of the way, the game starts with the Straw Hat crew facing a brutal blizzard of ice and lightning and eventually crashing near the shore of an unknown island.
After the crash, the players start on a mission to find the scattered crew members by exploring the beach. During this search, they will encounter two new characters: Lim, a mysterious teen with contempt for pirates who takes away the crew’s abilities, and Adio, a joyful tattooed individual with an unclear background. After getting acquainted, Lim helps the crew restore their powers by revisiting their memories. The crew will have to relive their exploits in various locations including Alabasta, Water Seven, Marineford, and Dressrosa.
One Piece Odyssey was created with input from its creator, Eiichiro Oda. He was involved in every aspect, including the new characters, location designs, and scripting. With the amazing addition that features the original Japanese voice cast from the anime series.
However, due to the changed circumstances and the imperfect nature of memories, the crew’s past experiences are not exactly the same. The players will relive the crew’s past adventures, with the new incorporated twists and changes that the developers have added to the original narrative. They used their creative freedom to subvert, alter, and parody quite a few parts of the story and incorporate it into a new and unique experience both for the crew and the players.
This means that even players who are not familiar with the One Piece lore can still enjoy the game up to a point. They can appreciate the characters, their actions, and the settings without feeling like they need to watch the anime in order to understand the game’s content. On the other hand, long-time fans of the One Piece series will have fun recognizing these small changes and seeing their favorite locations and storylines play out differently.
The plot of One Piece Odyssey is like a One Piece film and is highly enjoyable. On multiple occasions, I found myself dismissing the fact that I am playing a video game and just enjoying the experience as an anime scene. The game features intense battle scenes with Luffy, emotional scenes, dramatic plot twists, and comedic character interactions. It never let up and continued to deliver an entertaining experience.
The Straw Hat crew’s personalities are on full display in the game, both in conversations and battles. They are constantly chatting with each other and their interactions can range from jokes to meaningful dialogue. Even when characters help each other in battles, adding to the One Piece-style camaraderie. This is evident in moments like Sanji helping Nami and calling her with his famous (voice-crack) “Nami Swan.” The game is full of One Piece charm and style, making One Piece Odyssey highly enjoyable for fans.
One Piece Odyssey features a typical turn-based JRPG combat system, where your position affects the use of attacks on groups of enemies. The gameplay mechanics are simple, but the game’s unique setting and story, combined with the special moves and abilities of each character, add a fresh twist to the standard rock-paper-scissors formula. Something that can be seen in other great modern turn-based JRPGs, such as Dragon Quest XI, and Persona 5.
The three classes in One Piece Odyssey – Power, Speed, and Technique – have a triangular relationship where one is strong against one and weak against another. For instance, characters with the Power class are strong against Speed enemies but vulnerable to Technique opponents. Technique characters, on the other hand, are strong against Power characters but receive extra damage from Speed characters. This requires players to switch between party members in battle based on the type of enemies they face, adding a strategic element to the combat system. The mechanic provides both familiar options and a new layer of thought without being too complicated.
The battle system also has depth with the addition of special moves, combos, and the ability to swap between characters on the fly. The game encourages strategic thinking by using items and skills effectively, as well as balancing the positioning of characters and their abilities. This, along with a great difficulty curve, makes the battles in One Piece Odyssey feel challenging but never frustrating while letting you focus more on the characters and their animations.
Although significant moments in the game can be overshadowed, repetition and excessive padding are to blame. This is particularly evident in the first half of the Alabasta chapter, where the players repeatedly return to previously explored areas for really unimportant reasons, while not having the ability to fast travel in the early game. However, once the Alabasta story reaches its crucial point, the momentum of the story improves and the other Memories are not as monotonous.
The lack of side quests and new areas in One Piece Odyssey could have been remedied, leading to a more well-rounded experience. Some Memories, like Marineford, end too abruptly and are not as difficult as anticipated, especially for those who have a strong advantage in the game. Overall though, the gameplay mechanics in One Piece Odyssey, despite being traditional and sometimes dull, are still enjoyable, with a good balance of strategy and flashy animations.
Everyone Has A Job
Overworld exploration in One Piece Odyssey uses the Straw Hats, each with their unique abilities. Players can switch between them as needed and the game highlights the unique skills of each Straw Hat member through its gameplay. For example, Luffy can stretch his limbs and grapple to reach high places, and use his observation Haki to find hidden items. Nami can spot money, Chopper can access small spaces, Zoro can cut metal doors, and Sanji can find ingredients for cooking. This feature provides a distinct experience for each character and makes the game enjoyable.
Nico Robin, the crew’s archaeologist, leverages her extensive knowledge to reveal information about the world and the narrative of One Piece Odyssey. Franky, the crew’s cyborg shipbuilder, utilizes collected items to construct bridges to areas that were previously unattainable. Brook, the crew’s skeletal musician, has yet to fully reveal his role in exploring the game. Currently, it is not well known what his contribution will be until he regains his physical form.
(NOTE: During this review I had not fully completed the game unfortunately)
This exploration in One Piece Odyssey adds to the adventure and excitement, as you never know what you’ll find when you turn the next corner. You’ll discover new items, hidden paths, and valuable treasures, as well as collect memories that Lim can use to restore your crew’s abilities. The world is full of surprises, and with each member having unique abilities, you’ll have to experiment and find out who is best suited for certain situations. Players can also explore the game’s world, talk to NPCs, and gather information that can impact their journey.
Visuals & Sound
The graphics of One Piece Odyssey are gorgeous and offer a unique, cartoon-like feel fitting for the anime-based game. The environments, from the lush forests of Waford, to the scorching deserts of Alabasta, to the bustling city of Water Seven, are all rich and lively. Additionally, the character models are well-designed and have fluid animations that make battles look like you’re watching an episode of the anime.
The game has two options, Performance Mode and Graphics Mode, for players to choose from. Performance Mode offers a seamless 60 frames per second while Graphics Mode sacrifices frame rate for graphics quality. However, both modes maintain stable frame rates with no noticeable dips or glitches during play. Load times are also fast, making it challenging to read on-screen tips. The smooth and bug-free performance of One Piece Odyssey is a testament to the attention to detail and quality assurance put into the game by its developers.
The sound design is also fitting and top-notch while it helps to immerse players in the world of One Piece. The music sets the mood perfectly, whether you’re exploring the world or engaging in combat, and the sound effects bring the action to life. And as previously mentioned, the inclusion of the entire Japanese voice cast from the anime further adds to the authenticity of the experience. Also, blasting the combat sound effects through my SteelSeries Arena 3 really helped with the immersion.
One Piece Odyssey’s story and world-building are impressive, drawing players into the world of Waford and its characters. The writing is also strong, with witty humor and emotional moments that will resonate with fans of the franchise. While the game may have its pacing issues with some unnecessary padding, the excellent character moments and moments of fan-service more than make up for it.
One Piece Odyssey is a fantastic game that offers a unique and entertaining experience for both fans of the anime and those new to the series. The story is well written, the characters are well developed, and the gameplay is traditional but fun. The graphics and sound design are stunning, adding to the overall immersive experience. The game is polished and free of bugs, making it an enjoyable and smooth journey. If you’re a fan of the One Piece anime series or just looking for a good turn-based JRPG, One Piece Odyssey is definitely worth checking out.
All images in this article are screenshots taken from One Piece Odyssey on the PS5.
Many thanks to Bandai Namco EU for providing the review unit!